One of the most important things you need to provide for a fabulous portrait to be painted of your dog, is a quality photograph. Black or dark coloured dogs, are probably the most difficult to photograph. If the conditions aren’t right, your black or dark coloured dog will often look like a dark mass, with no real definition to their features, despite being an absolutely gorgeous dog. I am not a photographer, but I do rely on quality photographs to paint dog portraits from. I have searched widely for good practical advice for the novice photographer. One website I have found that seems to tick all the boxes for sound practical advice and photographs to demonstrate that advice, is ‘Brighton Dog Photography’ in the UK. Their website is http://brightondogphotography.co.uk/how-to-photograph-black-dogs/. It is well worth having a look at their website. The photography is beautiful.
However, for your convenience here are the main tips from Brighton Dog Photography:
Contrary to what you might expect, bright overhead sunlight isn’t great for black dogs. In very bright light your camera will be working too hard. There’ll be a battle between two extremes – the black of your dog and the white light of the sun. Your photograph will always end up on the losing side.
If you do find yourself with the sun directly overhead, bring your dog to a shaded area and take the photo there. It’s important that your chosen location is evenly shaded with a soft light covering the whole area. For example, if you take the photo under a tree, make sure that the background isn’t brightly lit.
Try and take the photo on a cloudy day. The light will be softer and your subject will be evenly lit.
Choose the right time of day
When you’re photographing your black dog in direct sunlight, there are two ideal times of day: early morning or early evening. Generally speaking, the “golden hour” is 1 hour after sunrise or 1 hour before sunset.
The right background colour is especially important when you’re taking a photo of a black dog. Ideally, you’re looking for good contrast colours that complement black. Middle-spectrum colours work particularly well – reds, yellows, greens and blues.
As we all know, the eyes are the window to the soul. But even at the best of times, it can be hard to see a dog’s eyes, especially if they’re covered in fur. The best way to deal with this is to use water. You don’t have to take them swimming or dunk them in the bath, just use a wet flannel to wipe around the eyes. Another tip is to take the picture from above. Because your dog is looking up at you, the fur falls back from the face.